You may remember an interview we did last year with Katie Raynolds, a remarkable 10th grader and dedicated linguaphile from Seattle, Washington. Well, Katie just spent a busy week with us here at the VT's New York office as our editorial intern! She graciously put together this word list:
I discovered when I searched through the Dept. of Word Lists that they're based on a subject a person is passionate about. So I thought, what is my passion? The answer clearly is: words! I found the following words that serve to describe other words, and I explain how we use them. For some I also included interesting stories about their origins.
Eponym, a name derived from the name of a person (real or imaginary). Examples: Achilles tendon (Achilles the Greek hero), Freudian slip (Sigmund Freud), Louisiana (King Louis XIV).
Onomatopoeia, words that imitate the sound that they denote. Examples: Pow! Bam! (a type of onomatopoeia that was made popular in comic books), chickadee, meow.
Sibilant, a consonant characterized by a hissing sound (like s or sh). The word sibilant comes from the Latin word sibil (hiss), which is actually onomatopoeia for the sounds that a snake makes. Example of sibilance: Sally sells sea shell by the sea shore.
Fancy yourself a fashionista
? Check out this fashion word list compiled by Jennifer Smith, former New York fashion designer now copywriter/PR pro for Deuce Creative
. You'll be surprised by some of Seventh Avenue's parts of speech. Read on to sharpen your divaspeak
Look. (noun) "Complete outfit, ensemble from head to toe including accessories and shoes. The number of outfits you send down the runway is equivalent to the number of looks in a fashion show."
Fitting. (noun) "Review of garments on a live model. Fit, proportion, make and details assessed. Changes are made to garments and patterns based on notes from a fitting."
Tchotchke. (noun) (from Yiddish) "Extraneous detail or treatment on a garment, often used negatively. An excess of novelty is often referred to as tchochke. Example: 'The dress appeared fussy, covered in ruffled tchochke.'"
Designing clothes isn't just a leisurely prance down the catwalk: It's art and industry with its very own, often technical, language. The words themselves may seem familiar to us non-designers, but the meanings are anything but. We called New York fashion designer Mary Ping to help us decipher this particular tongue. ( The dress on the left is from a recent collection.)
Grain "Refers to the direction of the threads of a fabric. When fabric is woven you have a warp and a weft. The warp are yarns that run parallel to the loom, the weft are yarns that run perpendicular."
Shuttle "A tool on a loom to pass yarn through warp to form the weft."
Bias "The diagonal direction of yarn. You have yarns running vertically, yarns running horizontally -- the warp and the weft -- and the bias is the 45 degree angle between those two. It gives fabric a natural stretch. When people refer to a "bias-cut dress" it means the entire fabric is placed on the biased grain, or direction. So the dress has a tendency to cling to your body more, because it's stretching out more."
Want to know every top chef's secret ingredient? The right food terms! We called Chef Eve Felder, associate dean of the Culinary Institute of America, to ask her about words to cook by:
Bind. "When you bring two disparate ingredients together. You might bind through the emulsification of fat and meat. For example, if I were making sausage, I may add an egg as an additional binding agent to hold the ground meat together."
Devil. "It means adding spicy ingredients to food, from the French word for devil, diable. In America, we think of deviled eggs and deviled ham. It may have a spice component but we've mostly gotten away from that."
Grease. "A verb, as in to grease a pan. You would use paper towel or a gloved hand to grease a sheet tray or a cake pan with butter or oil."
Are your olfactories overjoyed by oenology? We called wine director Jennifer Malone-Seixas, sommelier at New York's elegant Fleur De Sel restaurant, to ask her about words related to wine:
Legs. "They're a factor in examining a wine, something you discover before you taste it. When you swirl a glass you'll see the drips of wine sheeting off the sides -- those are the legs."
Weight. "When I'm talking about a full bodied wine or a wine moving in that direction I'll say it has a lot of weight to it. It's a palette-related comment."
Texture. "When we say a wine is surprisingly smooth or surprisingly velvety we're referring to its texture."
Getting ready for that big renovation project at home? To make sure you have the right words for the job, we called Kevin Ireton, the editor of Fine Homebuilding Magazine, who graciously explained these -- fine -- homebuilding terms:
Stool. "The ledge on the inside of a window, which most people call the sill. The sill is the similar piece on the outside."
Crown. "It's used as a verb by framing carpenters and means to check a stud, rafter or joist to see if it's straight and to mark the crown (or high spot) if there is one."
Biscuit. "A small, football-shaped wafer of compressed wood used (like a dowel or spline) to join two boards together."
Eyebrow. "A particular style of dormer with an arched roof that mimic's the curve of your eyebrow."
Next time you're on the green, try not to airmail your shot into the drink, cabbage or kitty litter, okay? To get a handle on golf's rich vocabulary, we called PGA professional and author Mark Blakemore, who runs well-known golf schools in Northern California. Mark takes us down the linguistic fairway:
Airmail. "It means you either hit a shot that flew too far, or a drive that carried in the air farther than anybody else's ball."
Albatross. "A score of three under par on a hole, which doesn't happen very often. The word comes from the fact that an albatross is a rare bird. Naming hierarchy in scoring is like that. A hole in one on a par five, for example, is called a condor, which is an almost extinct bird, of course.
Cabbage. "Slang for long grass off the edges of a fairway. It describes very long rough, like those at the British Open or U.S. Open. The words spinach and lettuce are also used."
Drink. "Refers to a water hazard. 'In the drink' means into the water."